S_V_H Sound of Silence upgrade

What the viewer needs to know:

Sound of Silence 2022 ≈ L60″ x H23″ xD3″

Sound of Silence is an artwork from early 2016 that I have decided to turn in a music box.

YouTube video discussion of the upgrade of 2016 artwork Sound of Silence.

The chaos of studio work building the speaker boxes and stereo mounting platform.

Going Deeper:

In the video on this 2016 work I spoke about the upgrade. My reasoning for the change is based on my limited experience with upscale galleries like Gallery 1802 in La Crosse. The gallery owner Mark limited his request to three works when he realized how large they were. My concern after hanging was how much wall space those three works filled, compared to everything else in the gallery. That lead me to decide to offer galleries a few larger works, but more options for smaller works.

My smaller works are, in most eyes, would still be considered rather large. They are because that is the style trend of this art now finishing its 16th year. In the last half-dozen years I have created many small works, even some with music, but their reception by the public has been no different from my normal larger works. Recently that has been made more complicated by my improving cover music skills consuming days of studio time. That added cost of playable music means smaller works (under 4 feet) do not allow me a reasonable price differential from larger works.

I price larger works conservatively from 3000 to 6000. This is to be within the pricing averages of smaller galleries. Small artworks three feet and under would then priced near 2000 to give me a return. All the pricing is done with a minor consideration of the cost to the gallery. That expense will run from 30 to closer to 50 percent of the sale. My pricing tier reasoning comes from being an unknown unknown artist, working within the “it” reality of small market art. This art is less about the monies than creating something different and respect. Although covering the cost of art supplies would be nice.

Scott Von Holzen

S_V_H The Sound of Silence Final Image

Sound of Silence L60″ x H22″

This is the final, final image of The Sound Silence made up of two canvas sixty inches in length. My color theme is Urban Gritty with dominant shades of blue-gray, and dull colored greens for the music, which is an interesting choice.  When I was in New York City this last fall visiting my good friend Tom,  there was not a lot of green in the streets. That is probably why I took one of my snapshots that day.

The real final image is the second version of the first final image which you can view below.  This came about, when I realized while writing this entry, that I had forgotten one last piece of the music. That missing piece appears in the second final image as a small wooden ledger line across three of my pieces of music. With that add-on I applied more of the street colors that caught my eye as contrast to the drab tones of the buildings. That finishing touch then allowed me to consider another change.

Throughout the later stages of this artwork I developed this feeling that the coloring was not quite there.  All of my attempts had only small affects or I washed them away. My thinking settled on that the coloring was okay, so leave it.  What caught my attention, after painting the add-on ledger line,  where those light violet colored musical stems.  The good color choice well with the background, but after looking at my images of New York that day, light violet seemed out-of-place, a little too packaged for me.  I decided to repaint all the stems with a color that better fit my urban color style. That made all the difference, artwork done, for sure.


My take on this painting is that the basic theme of the colors works exceptionally well for my interruption of this music. The length of the artwork is a little long, but I wanted to use the same size notes as my earlier work, Under Pressure, so that is what worked.

I can see that I am now firmly locked into using cut-out wood pieces for the music. Now, just where I can take this is what has my curiosity. I do have a small change in an earlier opinion: the background does not have to disappear, or even be greatly diminished.  I can see in this artwork that the background is playing an important part in the mood of this work, and that effect cannot be underestimated.

What that means,  is that I will be looking for new, creative ways to bring to life the colors, and shapes applied to the canvases. The background for these artworks, as I see,  are going to make up a large part of my artworks for some time.

Scott Von Holzen

S_V_H The Sound of Silence image2

soundOfSilence_2This is The Sound of Silence second image.  This artwork shows the evolution in a style that allows the music to leave the inside the dimensions of the canvases. Looking back you can see these changes from my first artworks  that started out using a  signal canvas, then multiple canvases, and then many canvases that followed the music.  Currently I am looking for methods to hold the music in place, and that is about it. The rectangle shape similar to a musical staff,  may not disappear from these artworks,  but its relevance in these painting has diminished for years. In this artwork I am drifting even further away from such classic artworks as these two favorites of mine, Thunder Road, and Hallelujah.

I am also seeing myself moving more in the direction that the music I chose to paint has to be music that I truly enjoy.  When I paint I listen to music.  Painting music without music, never happens.  When I consider that, it may be by painting artworks I have the needed excuse to listen to my favorite music.

Lately, to an extent greater than usual,  I have found myself creating unique Playlists for the music that I am painting.  As I have done somewhat in the past,  I search out as many versions of the music, live and studio, that I can find,  by the artist that attracted me to the music. But lately to create these Playlist I have added other artists that have cover versions of the music.  Finally,  to add variety to playlist I add in from my collection other music by the artist the drew me to the music. These Playlist then make gives me a better understanding, and connection to the music that I am painting. Now, when I look back into the past I know I have done some commission artworks that I did not enjoy the music that much.  I would listen to the music only occasionally to keep the artwork on track, and then return to  the music that I loved.  This trend of creating a Playlist for each artwork I am starting to see that I am changing my approach to doing commission artworks.

For example,  I recently received an offer for a commission for a song by REO Speedwagon. I agreed to check it out, for the music was not familiar to me. I listen to it. I hated it. I then listen to the other music of REO Speedwagon,  to see if I could create a Playlist. I found a few good pop songs, but beyond them there was not enough music that I could add to amount to much of a Playlist.  As it happened, I never needed to create a REO Speedwagon song list for the commission faded away without any words being said.  That situation enlightened me.  I really do not want to do any music that I do not truly enjoy listening to.  Although, I am sure I can paint a great song, without a great playlist, and I know I  still want to  do some paid work,  it is true that the reason that I paint music is because of my passion for music.  To compromise would hurt his art. This art cannot ever be compromised by money.  Instead this art is about painting great music, that offers a wonderful adventure for the dreamer that is this boy.

Most of my playlist have been fairly small numbers.  For The Sound of Silence I have an unusually large playlist mix of 148 songs of Simon & Garfunkel and Paul Simon. For the previous artwork, Under Pressure, I created an exceptional playlist that grew to 175 songs my David Bowie and Queen.

This second image has an interesting story, about what happen to the canvas.  If you compare this image with the first image looking especially close at the right hand panel you will see a big difference. That came about because of an accident.  When I can go no further with the background,  because I have no idea how the music will look in comparison,  I stop and turn to placing in the music. What happened was that in the process of placing and gluing down the music flow, I of course now create my music out of wood,  I discovered the next day that one of my notes had somehow slide out-of-place, out of the flow. I tried to gently lift the misplaced note off of the canvas, but it would not budge. I tried to work it free with a pallet knife.  That did not work. Finally, I tried to carefully work a knife between the canvas and the wood. Of course what I was trying to do was impossible.  The canvas was firmly attached to the wood, and I ended up cutting a big hole in the right panel.

Stunned and lost where my first feelings, follow quickly by what now.  I decided I took another 15 by 30 inch panel, primed it, three times, removed the  damaged right panel, drilled two holes and reconnected the still good left panel with an empty bright white canvas. The next night I than copied,  the best as I could, my complicated paint pattern By the end of the evening I finished the left panel background. The one advantage I had with the clean slate with the right panel, and left panel painted with the music in place,  is that I could  check the direction the artwork was heading.  I decided I did not like what I saw,  and easily changed the style I would do to the new right panel, which involved deepening the colors and the contrast of the stripping. I then worked those improvements into the left panel. Finally, by working each panel back-en-forth I then was able to bring these two canvases back into harmony.  My take is out of every set back or adversity, there comes opportunities to improve, that can overcome the cost of the loss.

Scott Von Holzen

S_V_H The Sound of Silence image1


soundOfSilence_1Hello, Music and Art lovers. Hello, to all those that are on this blog site email list.  I appreciate the support.

What I have pictured here is an advanced image one of the Classic Rock song The Sound of Silence. This artwork has a starting dimension of sixty inches in length by fifteen inches in height.  Nothing that special about this background. It accomplishes what I want in two ways:  it  portrays the darker mood of this music with its blue-gray drabness,  and rough application of secondary accents colors.  Second this size artwork helps to push forward a new strategy of moving the music out from the background.  What I want to do is to cut the physical size, of the canvas,  to the point where the music just fits.   Then by creating larger pieces of the music,  out of proportion to the canvas, the music then flows out from the edges.  What I am doing here is a deliberate attempt to free the music from the background.

This cover artwork is from the music of Paul Simon.  And the music is The Sound of Silence, a truly a classic pop rock from My Generation. Of course, this version with the added voice of Art Garfunkel is the classic version:

Here is a much later live performance of The Sound of Silence by an older Paul Simon beautifully played on his acoustic guitar:

Here is the 2015 version of The Sound of Silence by Distrubed, a heavy metal band, that convinced me to paint this music.  The Sound of Silence is music that is still relevant today, 52 years after it was first released.


Scott Von Holzen